Thoughts after ARPA Public Townhall

After attending the ARPA Public Townhall last night… here are some impressions.

  • The BOCC and ARPA Task Force seem resolved to use ARPA money.
  • For some weird reason, this Public Townhall was poorly attended by conservative grassroots organizers and other local Republicans. I’d say about 50/50 conservative-to-Leftist last night. I expected 90/10.
  • A few non-profits, and Left-leaning individuals from the public actually threw a bit of a curve ball at the BOCC+Treasurer by preempting that ARPA money wasn’t going to be used for COVID-19-related purposes, but instead for unapproved purposes like expanding the Justice Building –– which I believe they’re correct. These individuals wanted ARPA to be directed towards local non-profits, and COVID-19-mitigating purposes. Big Dumb.
  • Commissioner Duncan also mentioned something very interesting. She proposed that if the U.S. Treasury discovers that the Justice Building expansion didn’t qualify for ARPA, the county would simply return the money to the U.S. Treasury, and attempt to pass a bond on Kootenai citizens. This is problematic, because construction could hypothetically be already well under way. This would put citizens in a bad position.

With this debriefing out of the way… here’s a breakdown of what you can expect regarding ARPA in the coming months.

  • The ARPA Task Force closed requests for ARPA money on March 1st, 2022. The next step is for the Task Force to rank each request (see PDF below), and submit these rankings as a final product to the BOCC who will vote on it sometime April.
  • There has been some mention that the BOCC will actually schedule an official Public Hearing where all 3 commissioners would be present to listen to additional feedback from the public. This proposed Public Hearing would occur prior to vote by the BOCC on the ranked requests. Estimated: early-April.

Below is the updated list of requests for ARPA money. The official county hub for ARPA-related information can be found on their website.

The Townhall is available for viewing here. Commissioner Duncan and Treasurer Matheson give a bit of a introduction at the beginning. Public comment starts at 25m10s.


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